What Do I Need to Know about Kidney Health in Canada 

In short, we have good screening measures for kidney health but we don’t use them enough.  CARP wants to know that older Canadians at risk of kidney disease know to ask for kidney screening.

In case you need a Kidney 101 review, here’s what kidneys do. The bean shaped organs “clean” your blood by removing wastes from the body through your urine, help make red blood cells, and regulate blood pressure. Every minute, your kidneys filter about one litre of blood.

Who is at risk for kidney disease? Hypertension and diabetes are responsible for more than half of all CKD cases, and cardiovascular disease is also a significant risk. Other factors include older age, family history, obesity, and substance abuse.

Unlike diseases that reveal themselves by signs and symptoms fairly early on, CKD often does not. Signs and symptoms such as increased urination (hematuria), insomnia and fatigue, poor appetite, shortness of breath, muscle cramps, nausea, or dry or itchy skin often do not appear until kidney disease has progressed.

When CKD occurs, it can range from mild to severe and in some cases, lead to kidney failure.

Like many diseases, patient outcomes are not as positive when the disease is found later.

Fortunately, new treatments that are available can slow disease progression, preserve kidney function, and improve patient outcomes.  Early intervention has never been so easy nor so important.  However, screening is simply not happening as often as it should, meaning that many Canadians have preventable disease that is progressing unnoticed.

Go to the Kidney Foundation for more information.

 How is CARP Advocating?

KDIGO, a non-profit organization focused on kidney disease clinical practice guidelines recommends screening in those with hypertension, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease as well as those with other factors that increase risk.

CARP has been educating our members about the risk of kidney disease, as well as the screens easily available through your health professionals.

We have also sought the voice of our membership so that information about their chronic kidney disease and/or screening can be shared and can inform our advocacy efforts.

How Can I Get Involved?

There are many ways to get involved.  Find out more.